Trap Neuter Release (TNR) – Kitty Goes Home

Originally posted on Fighting for Hope's Blog:

Below is an old video I came across recently and it prompted me to highlight the neutering work undertaken by the Cats Protection.  The Cats Protection is the largest single cat neutering group in the world.

In December 2013, Science Daily reported on a research finding that widespread ignorance amongst cat-owners about the sex lives of their pets may be leading to more than 200,000 unplanned litters, equivalent to more than 850,000 kittens every year in the UK.

In August 2013, Science Daily reported on research showing that feral cats which undergo a vasectomy or hysterectomy could reduce a feral colony’s numbers more effectively than the traditional approach of neutering.

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New Country….New Direction?

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As you will have read in my last few posts we, my wife Stef, our seven cats and two dogs, have moved to Co Mayo in sunny Ireland! The move was a story in itself, but suffice to say although the animals all travelled well, it is not a trip we would want to repeat in a hurry!

Having kept the cats indoors for ten days, we were more than a little concerned that once we opened the door and let them into the damp Irish air (and it has been damp!) they would make a beeline back towards Spain. But the good news is they seem to love it here and have settled in well.

Khan, loving his new home in Ireland

Khan, loving his new home in Ireland

So now I have to decide what I want to concentrate on involving animal welfare in the future. Whilst WTFAW has been great, it does not provide the hands on approach I have been used to for most of my life.

One thing my Mother was very keen on, was the interaction between animals and children with special needs. She started The Elisabeth Svendsen Trust for Children and Donkeys which over the last twenty plus years has helped thousands of children all over the UK and in Northern Ireland. I believe that the benefit is mutual as donkeys are intelligent creatures and love to be kept occupied. I was personally involved in setting up the first projects in the UK and later in Spain and Italy. I can say from experience, that the benefits to both human and animal are significant. My most memorable moment was when we made our very first visit to a school in Spain and a little girl with cerebral palsy’s face lit up as she stroked her donkey, and how she laughed out loud with pleasure as he freed her from the confines of her wheelchair. Her carer’s said they had never seen her laugh like that before. Donkeys can also bring great joy to the older generation. So many people who have lived most of their lives in the country miss contact with animals when confined to a home, and a visit from a friendly donkey will often bring back happy memories.

Having set up and run The Donkey Sanctuary in Ireland, I know that neither they or the other welfare organisations in Ireland can cope with the number of donkeys and horses who are suffering terrible hardship at the moment. Whilst our small plot of land can not provide a solution to the problems facing equines in Ireland, we may help to get the message out that donkeys and other “pets” are not just for amusement or sport, but can make a real difference to the lives of people, and deserve to be treated with respect.

I am considering starting an animal assisted therapy project here in Ireland involving rescued donkeys, people with special needs and residents in old people homes. For the moment I will keep WTFAW active and post everything from the new project here.

I would be really interested in hearing your thoughts on this.

Here are a few before pictures of the facilities. As you will see, there is a bit of work to do!

Plenty of buildings, but lots of work required to get them ready.

Plenty of buildings, but lots of work required to get them ready.

This stable may need a clean first!

This stable may need a clean first!

lots of grass, but some fencing required?

lots of grass, but some fencing required?

At least we can grow some vegetables to keep us going!

At least we can grow some vegetables to keep us going!

 

 

Help Stop Live Pony Carousel’s In Spain

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They walk in circles for hours and hours accompanied by the blare of music and screaming children. They are given no more rights then their wooden counterparts, who at least cannot suffer. What message do we give our children about respecting the dignity of the animals we share this planet with. If they do not realise the suffering the ponies endure as they enjoy their rides, what hope of them becoming adults who will respect the rights of animals in the future.

Please sign this petition and add your voice to the thousands who have already done so

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/823/525/068/ban-the-use-of-live-ponies-for-carousel-rides/

No time to write!

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Sorry about the lack of posts recently but we are in the middle of moving from Spain to Southern Ireland. With seven rescue cats and 2 dogs it is no simple matter and I have just arrived back at our home in Spain with a large van and a horse-box which I am currently converting to give the animals a comfy home for the three-day journey .

rainbow

 

The property, pictured above has two acres of land and it will be a real base where WTFAW can provide more practical animal welfare solutions.

We plan to be in the new property by the 8th of May so will be quite busy to that point and a little beyond I suspect! I will try to update the site as often as I can in the meanwhile.

 

Dandylion and Mushroom Risotto

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Having just moved to rural Ireland I have discovered the joys of foraging on my early morning walks. If I survive my experiments I will post a few recipes for you to try, safe in the knowledge that i tried it on myself first :)

Dandelions are the scourge of most gardeners, but all the plant can be eaten and they are great in salads or in dishes like this. I have been told the open flowers are great dipped in tempura batter and deep-fried, so will be trying that one soon!

preparation

Find young plants and pluck the closed buds and leaves. Do not pick from busy roadsides.

Serves one so just multiply for several diners

Ingredients

Splash olive oil

1 small red onion (or wild onion if you can find them)

Half handful of dandelion buds unopened

2 cloves of garlic (replace with wild garlic if you can find it

½ cup risotto rice

A couple of medium mushrooms chopped.

1 handful of dandelion leaves washed without stalks

Splash dry white wine

A cup and a half of vegetable stock

1 Tablespoon hummus

¼ lemon

Dandielion Risotto

 

Method

Chop the onions, crush and chop the garlic and put into pot along with the dandelion buds. Sweat for a few minutes, then add the rice and sweat for a couple more. Add mushrooms and wine, and cook until liquid has gone. Add half a cup of stock and the dandelion leaves and simmer stirring occasionally, gradually adding more stock as needed. When rice is cooked add seasoning and stir in Hummus. Serve with a couple of slices of your favourite bread and a squeeze of lemon.

How can we hurt whales?

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Breathe Again

I rise to meet the salty roof of my world

To breathe the life giving air and then again

To dive deep to safety sounding my intent

The risk is above but I need to breathe

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Over vast distances we communicate with power

Our voices reaching kin a hundred miles distant

We tell of events giving news of life and death

And listen to the danger closing from all sides

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The thrum of steel goliaths is a constant companion

Their alien sounds drives fear deep into our ancient hearts

They move above with greedy and relentless intent

They will turn our watery world blood red

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For thousands of years our journeys gave us life

Now they are the cause of our demise

The steel goliaths know well our plans

But we cannot change and we must breathe

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Screams of anguish from ancient friends close by

Invade the senses and warn me to dive, but I cannot

I must rise; I need the life giving air to fill my lungs

I must risk again the steel and explosion of death

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So close now the time to expose my life once again

Light now infusing my world with terrible images

I know the voices wracked with pain and despair

I feel for their souls ripped unprepared from body

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My turn now a final push, I drive upwards just one intent

Leaving my world of watery support for seconds only

To breathe enough life giving air to live a while longer

Then dive to the safety of the deep beyond goliaths reach

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Human eyes with vicious intent focus on my mortality

The goliath drives against salty embrace to reach me

In haste to end my life to launch spear and explosion

A greed fuelled finger can end my existence now

 -

I fall towards the wave capped border of my world

Lungs filled I hear a deafening roar, a hiss of ruptured air

All that I am and was lives or dies in these seconds

Decided in this moment of ultimate greed

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In an explosion of a thousand watery tons

I enter my world again and dive for safety

Sounding my return to friend and family

Above the roar, bang and scream of goliath thwarted

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I have survived again to dive deep and be safe

To rejoice my survival for a little while longer

But above the goliath with patient malice waits

For me to breathe again

 

Badger Cull Works in Ireland?

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Here is an interesting article about the culling of badgers in Southern Ireland.

I am still of the opinion that culling has little to do with the decline in the number of cases of bovine TB. In Ireland a whole raft of other measures were introduced at the same time, such as a much more draconian movement of livestock regime.

The Irish government has stated that their preferred control method would be to vaccinate. but at the moment it is not cost-effective.

Perhaps all the large animal welfare charities and government should, instead of fighting each other, work together to raise enough funds to vaccinate.

Why not eat animals?

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I often question the reasons I do not eat most animals. For me it started nearly 20 years ago when two major events happened in my life. Before these events I was a prolific meat-eater, liking my steak rare and very rarely allowing a vegetable near my mouth. I can’t remember in which order these events occurred, and I will get in trouble for that, but one of them was living with my second wife Stef, who does not eat meat, and the second was from spending several days in a car with a lady called Heike Fix (I am sure I have spelt her name wrong and will get in trouble for that as well!) in Eastern Europe investigating the transport conditions for horses destined for slaughter. I think that the influence of both these people was the catalyst to make me change my meat-eating ways. Heike provided the shock and evidence related to the treatment of animals before and during slaughter, and Stef provided the home environment that enabled me to change to a non-meat diet without the problems associated with trying to prepare meatless meals at home, when the rest of the household is stuffing themselves on chicken nuggets and bacon.

I think one of the reasons I was able to give up meat without too much fuss was that I am one of life’s grazers. What I mean by that is that I have a personality that likes to keep moving and find new things to experience, very rarely settling into long-term routines. I also have a non-addictive nature, if I decide I don’t want to do anything anymore then I don’t find it too hard to stop. For instance when I decided to stop smoking it was not a major problem for me.

So you are probably thinking, based on the above, how long will it be before I change my mind about eating animals and go back to it? Well I am pretty sure it will never happen. To me, like smoking, killing and eating animals is now just fundamentally the wrong thing to do. It goes far beyond my need to find new things to do, it is something that affects everything I do and every decision I make.

Many people have told me that I change my mind a lot, and it’s true. But in reality it is because I have lots of ideas and in my enthusiasm I tend to talk about them before I have thought them through. Sometimes you have to go some way down the road with an idea before you can make an educated guess about if it is something you should pursue or not. With animal welfare I have travelled many of them roads and am committed to the general direction, but, I can still not decide how far I should go.

When I first decided to give up eating meat I did my normal thing. It was not good enough for me to go vegan, oh no, I had to go frugarian, which is only eating the parts of any plant that can be given without killing the host, or which the host would give up in its normal life cycle. For instance, nearly all fruits, seeds, such as rice and wheat, and non-root vegetables, such as beans and peas. I don’t think Stef was too pleased with our frugarian wedding reception! Since then I have been a fully fledged vegan and most things in between, but I have never gone back to eating the flesh of land animals again.

So here I am 20 odd years on from making my decision not to eat meat, still trying to decide how far down this life changing road I should go and why. I know, and have known many inspirational animal welfare people who have collectively rescued or improved the lives of tens of thousands, if not millions of animals, and all but a few of those animal welfare giants, ate animals. I have been to functions hosted by some of the largest animal welfare organisations where there was no animal friendly food available at all! And I suspect that only a small percentage of the staff and volunteers of most animal welfare organizations, are non-meat eaters, so how does that work?

In my case, in an ideal world I would like not to cause the death of any sentient being simply because I do not want to cause suffering so that I can eat a more varied type of food. I know that I can survive without animal protein but now and then I weaken and will eat some fish or other sea based life such as prawns. When drawn on the subject in conversation I have in the past stated that my main objection to meat-eating is the way animals are farmed, and that I have less qualms about eating animals that have lived a natural existence, such as non-factory farmed fish. But in reality deep down I believe that it is wrong to take the life of any other species unless my life is not tenable without doing so. And that is just not the case; in fact the opposite is true. To my mind it is a proven fact that the consumption of meat, apart from causing so much suffering is causing terrible problems to the environment and the health of the human species. You don’t have to look to hard to find pretty conclusive evidence that cancer, obesity, greenhouse gasses, and lots of other bad things are associated to our need for copious amounts of animal flesh.

Why then do I, having considered this for so many years, and believing that it’s wrong to do so, weaken now and then? To be honest, I think it just comes down to a lack of will power and is normally associated with going out or a special occasion where prawns or piece of fish somehow becomes too hard to resist. Mind you with most restaurants, especially where we live in Spain, offering zero choices when it comes to vegan friendly food you can understand why many non-animal eaters hate going out to eat.

Although I am quite passionate about my belief that eating our fellow creatures is wrong for so many reasons, (ok yes I know I don’t practice what I preach 100%,) I am disappointed that I have not knowingly converted anybody to live an animal friendly lifestyle. All my children, my parents, my brothers and sisters, most of my friends and many of my colleagues all eat meat.  Either I am a terrible advert for not eating meat, or the temptation for the products animals bring to the table is just too strong to resist, or my concern for the welfare of animals is misplaced and I should go out, slay a cow and tuck in.

If any of you have managed to read this far and are still awake enough to reply, I would appreciate your thoughts on why you do, or do not animals. Actually writing this has been quite cathartic for me and has if anything has focused me more on living a lifestyle that does not adversely affect the quality or length of life, of my fellow creatures.

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